ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Maryland lawmakers are set to lock horns over the state’s death penalty.
Political reporter Pat Warren has details of a plan to have capital punishment repealed.
Lawmakers who want to repeal the death penalty think the November election may have turned the tide their way.
Opponents of the Maryland death penalty law set the stage for another emotional battle of beliefs. On one side, Kirk Bloodsworth is sentenced to death and walks away with his freedom when DNA proves him innocent. On the other, Steven Oken is sentenced to death and walks to the chamber of execution, and his victim’s mother watches him die.
“My daughter didn’t have the luxury to die in peace the way I saw him die tonight,” said Betty Romano.
But death penalty opponents argue no one should die at the hands of the state, and Bloodsworth proves the state makes mistakes.
“It does not work. It does not deter. It is racially discriminatory,” said Delegate Sandy Rosenberg.
Death penalty opponents believe there are enough votes to have the death penalty repealed.
“The 2010 election brought in new senators and new delegates who readily signed on to repeal,“ said Jane Henderson, Citizens Against State Executions.
They could be wrong.
“No, it would not pass the Senate,” said Mike Miller, Senate president.
Miller supports the death penalty.
“There was a crime in Baltimore where a person killed a shopkeeper and then locked him in the freezer with his little child overnight. Somebody who commits crimes like that, in my opinion, deserves the death penalty,” Miller said.
The bill will be introduced in the House next week.
Right now executions in Maryland are on hold until the state approves a new protocol for administering lethal injections. Sixty-one members of the House of Delegates have signed on to repeal the death penalty. There are 21 co-sponsors in the Senate.